I seem to have read a fair few articles recently about candidates "ghosting" a recruiter or employer. In case you've not heard this phrase before, it means that once an offer is made to a candidate they disappear into thin air, like a ghost. They don't call, they don't write, they don't acknowledge any form of  communication. They indicate that they won't be taking the job by simply saying nothing. So the employer has to rip up the contract they were expecting to be signed and start the recruitment process all over again.

Now, this is nothing new in many ways, but the big difference is that it used to be the employer or the recruiter that went ghost. There's probably a fair few people reading this article that has sent in a job application, had an initial chat with a hiring manager, or even had a series of interviews only to then get no further contact or feedback.  That's unacceptable, but was all too common when recruiters had the upper hand. What's changed is that now candidates hold all the cards and have a lot more options in terms of making a career choice. 

Either way around though, ghosting is annoying, expensive and frustrating. From an employer's point of view, here are a few things you can do to ensure your potential hire turns up and signs on the dotted line.

1. Improve your candidate experience.

To avoid ending up with a ghost, make sure your candidate experience gets candidates excited in the role on offer. Make the initial application process simple and straightforward, and, at the interview stage, take time to make the interview a genuine two-way conversation.

Discover what motivates your candidate and what's important to them, now and in their future career. Demonstrate to them that you can meet their expectations and aspirations. This is going to be a long-term relationship, so make sure you are giving plenty of information to persuade the candidate that you're the employer for them.

Don't let them think the grass may be greener elsewhere. Keep them informed throughout the recruitment process and engage with them. Don't delay in giving your response, candidates these days have lots of options and won't be waiting around. Give great feedback throughout the process, don't just send out standard emails or template feedback.

2. Define your employer brand.

An employer brand isn't words, logos or colors, rather it encapsulates the very essence of who you are and the experiences you create for your employees. It's how you are perceived as an employer. A strong employer brand that proudly displays the culture of your organization and ticks the boxes for the talent you are trying to attract will help keep ghosts at bay.

Make sure you know the personas you want to attract in as much detail as possible, and make sure your employer brand is built on pillars that send out the message that these personas want to hear.

If you're a great match for a candidate in terms of job role, work culture and benefits package, then joining you is a no-brainer for them. You'll be making an offer they can't refuse.

3. Look out for ghost signals.

It doesn't take a lot to spot when someone is turning into a ghost. Is your candidate delaying in committing to a start date? Are your calls going unanswered? Has the tone changed in your communications? Are emails going unanswered? These are all signs that there's a ghost in the room. You'll need to decide whether to continue using up time and energy reaching out to the person or walk away. I know which I would do.